A government spokesman said, on Saturday, that Britain granted 23 more licenses to French fishermen, a day after the deadline set by Paris to resolve the battle for fishing rights after Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The European Union had set a December 10 deadline for London to grant licenses to dozens of French fishing boats under a Brexit deal signed last year, with Paris threatening European legal action if there is no breakthrough.
The licenses were agreed on Friday night after British officials met their EU counterparts and took what the spokesman called an “evidence-based approach” to ensuring that ships qualified to operate in UK waters.
The spokesperson added that the approach “provides stability and ensures the sustainability of our fisheries”, with the UK granted 18 licenses and the Channel Island of Jersey five.
France had earlier said 104 of its boats still lacked licenses to operate in British and Channel Island waters that should have been granted under the Brexit deal.
Under the deal, EU fishermen can continue to work in British waters if they can prove they used to fish there.
Paris threatened to file a complaint with the European Commission over the dispute.
This could have resulted in the European Union imposing financial sanctions or even tariffs on British goods if Britain had been judged to abandon its commitments.
The European Union and Britain are also locked in a separate trade dispute over checks over products entering the British province of Northern Ireland after the UK government unilaterally delayed the introduction of the checks.
The dispute has exacerbated deteriorating bilateral relations between Britain and France, which have clashed this year over migrant crossings in the English Channel, post-Brexit trade arrangements and submarine sales to Australia.